There is inherent risk in almost any sport.
Concussions playing football or soccer. Groin/hamstring pulls/shin splints or tendonitis for runners. Falling on the ice curling and cracking your head. Tennis elbow. Rotator cuff. Catching the ball with your body not your glove. Sprains, strains .. stray balls hit your way playing golf. Or my girlfriends and I drinking too much over the course of 18 holes. It can all hurt. You get the drift …
I mentioned yesterday I wanted to spare my thumbs until I had practiced roping enough to feel confident I could keep them?
I’m not sure how long we had been dating that I noticed the HUGE scar around the Cowboy’s thumb.
“What happened,” I gasped.
“Oh,” he says nonchalantly. “There are a lot of team ropers minus a thumb.”
And he laughs.
The cowboy nearly lost his thumb, oh .. ‘probably 10 years ago’ he tells me, in Sydney, Iowa at a big team roping competition.
Why is this a common injury among team ropers?
Those who have done it, know. Those who haven’t ever roped but want to try, should know. And the rest of us, well it’s just useless trivia perhaps. But I think it’s interesting enough to warrant its own post as we head into another weekend of clinics.
Ropers do something they call, dally. Which is when they take the rope and wrap it around the saddle horn after they have either headed or heeled the steer. I think I’m describing that right, anyway..
There is a piece of rubber around the horn (usually a piece of inner tube that’s been cut to size) and that is what makes the rope stick.
You dally because you either have a four or five hundred pound steer you are trying to turn for your partner to grab its hind legs, or because you’ve got the hind legs and you’re wrapping up your run and that dally and pull is what stops the clock.
The goal is, to not get any fingers caught up in the mix.
But the Cowboy tells me, “When you pull your slack and you take a wrap you have coils in that hand. If you let go of that ..” OR, “Sometimes you get your thumb caught in when you’re cinching the rope down tight around the saddle horn..” OR, “You put a little twist in the rope and it gets caught going about 30 mph..”
POP goes the thumb.
Like this guys (Story from KBOI2.com): Idaho team roper competing despite loss of thumb http://tinyurl.com/c28p2ct
The Cowboy says, “When you’re in a storm .. When things aren’t going right and you know you’re in trouble, you’re taught to let go. But when you’re roping for a big prize and things are moving fast, you don’t always have time to think.”
The Cowboy (knock on wood) still has both thumbs. But, he says, he’s probably got 5 or 6 friends that are missing theirs.
Like most other athletes though, with any given sports injury .. this particular cowboy along with every other thumbless friend, has gotten right back on that horse.
Is back in the box.
And is giving .. another nod.